8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests


When we moved out of our urban neighborhood last year, we had no idea how our summer gardening efforts might change. Almost immediately, we discovered that living slightly closer to the country meant critters — lots of them. So, we've had to bulk up our pest-control efforts considerably. Here are some friendly ways to keep the fruits of your labor from falling prey to bugs, bunnies, deer, and more.

1. Insect Spray

Try this DIY insect spray on your plants and you'll see a huge difference in just a couple weeks. You may even have all the ingredients on hand. Combine two cloves of garlic with three cups of mint leaves, cayenne pepper, and biodegradable dish soap. This mix repels bugs, and it's best to spray on the leaves of your plants on a cloudy day so it doesn't burn them.

2. Soapy Solution

Are deer cramping your style? You can cut up bars of Irish Spring soap, attach to stakes using scraps of fabric, and scatter throughout your garden. The benefit here is that you don't need to reapply anything after rainstorms like you do with sprays and other methods. Plus, your yard will smell amazing.

3. Cornmeal Wonder

Get rid of ants and weeds with a simple cornmeal application. Stow this tip away for next year because the gluten works against seed development, so it's best to sprinkle in the early spring before the weeds actually sprout up. If ants are your bigger issue, you're in luck. They will carry the cornmeal back to their homes. It disrupts their digestion, but it will take about a week to fully work.

4. Bunny Banisher

We were most surprised last year to find an entire family of bunnies nesting underneath our tomato plants. This season we're hoping to keep them away with this organic rabbit repellent. This frugal mix of garlic, red pepper, water, and dish soap works best after it has soaked in the sun for a couple days. Apply to your plants once a week continuous control.

5. Hair Helper

Save money by cutting your hair at home. Then use the clippings in your garden to keep deer and other animals out of your plants. This method is one I learned from my mother-in-law, and it's surprisingly effective. It should help repel deer, rabbits, and snails all while acting as a mulch and natural fertilizer. Summer is a great time for a shorter style anyway. Hair that isn't heavily shampooed works best.

6. Bird Netting

We can't forget birds in this list. Keeping them out can be as easy as installing bird netting atop your raised beds. You'll need a staple gun to make the process go faster, but just secure the netting to the side of your box, stretch over your plants, and secure on the other side. Alternatively, you can use stakes to secure the netting in the ground if you don't have raised beds.

7. Scare Tactics

Pick up a few cheap aluminum pie plates at the dollar store. Then stake them up using some string to create a quick homemade scarecrow. The sound and bright shine should keep birds and other animals away.

8. Easy Eggshells

Slugs and snails will steer clear of this eggshell solution. Place the shells in a large bag and crush using your hands or feet. From there, scatter the pieces around plants once a week. Those critters don't like sharp edges, so it should stop them in their tracks. Bonus: the calcium in the eggshells also fertilizes your garden.

What are your favorite DIY garden protection methods?

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